BURBANK — There were hard fouls, stoppages with players on the ground crying in pain and complaints of the referees from both sidelines.
And, oh, there were also high stakes in the race for the Pacific League championship.
The Crescenta Valley High and Burroughs girls’ soccer teams played an intense match Friday, with the officials allowing most of the physical play to continue without whistles.
In the 80th and final minute, the Falcons and Indians settled for a 1-1 tie at Burroughs’ Memorial Field.
The tie, coupled with Arcadia’s win against Hoover on Friday, did not clear up the league standings.
Crescenta Valley (13-3-2, 10-1-1 in league) and Arcadia (10-6-2, 10-1-1) are tied for first place, with Burroughs (12-10-2, 9-2-1) two points behind. Each team has two matches remaining. Burroughs plays Arcadia on Tuesday and the Falcons visit the Apaches to end the regular season on Thursday.
The battle for the league’s top spot made for a battle on Friday.
“This team wanted to beat us and we wanted to beat them, put that together, and it’s going to be a hard match,” Crescenta Valley sophomore Grace Keller said.
Added Indians junior Emma Pineiro: “It was extremely physical. Ponytail yanking, kicking, over-the-surface stuff, under-the-surface stuff. Everything.”
Pineiro said she was exhausted at the end of the match.
More than an hour earlier, she had enough energy to make a run and provide her team with a 1-0 lead.
Burroughs had one shot on goal in the first half, and it converted.
Tatiana Rizzotti lined up for a free kick from 35 yards out. She placed a “perfect” ball inside the penalty box, where Pineiro came in for a header.
"[Pineiro] was marked,” Falcons Coach Jordan Schulz said. “But it was a perfect ball to a perfect header. I don’t know any goalkeeper who could’ve had that ball.”
Schulz’ squad was aggressive at the start of the second half.
The Falcons blasted six shots in the first seven minutes of the half. Their sixth shot finally crossed the goalline.
Keller, who kicks with her left foot, asked her coach for an opportunity to take a free kick from the right side of the field. Schulz trusted Keller.
Keller’s shot was too hard for Indians goalkeeper Taylor Bailey to handle, as the ball bounced off her hands and into the net.
“I knew I could take it,” Keller said. “I knew I had it.”
The Falcons had several other opportunities to score, but Bailey was phenomenal in net, stopping six shots, including a couple in point-blank range.
“She is great,” Burroughs Coach Eddie Garcia said. “She carried us.”
Bailey also made a mistake toward the end of the match.
After she punched away a corner kick by the Falcons, the referee stopped play and gave Bailey a red card in the 79th minute. For a moment, the Falcons thought they were awarded a penalty kick and placed the ball for a chance to take the lead.
The Falcons didn’t get a penalty kick.
Bailey was ejected from the match and must serve a mandatory one-match suspension.
“I don’t know why she was kicked out,” Garcia said. “I am trying to get a hold of it. We will hopefully review it and explain it in detail.”
Garcia and Schulz were looking for explanations after the match, as they both thought more time should’ve been left.
Instead, they both looked ahead to the final two matches and a chance at a league title.